PRESS RELEASE BY ZA CENTRAL REGISTRY NPC (ZACR) t/a Registry Africa Ltd

18 April 2017

THE RISK OF NOT SECURING DOTAFRICA DOMAINS NOW

Trademark owners who don’t register dotAfrica (.africa) domain names matching their brand names during the sunrise phase, which commenced on 4 April and will run until 2 June, could find themselves incurring significant legal costs later on.

The complexities involved in trying to wrest intellectual property away from those who would have snapped up the available domain names after the sunrise phase are innumerable.

Proactive trademark owners have already started securing their .africa domain names before the new .africa geographic Top Level Domain (gTLD) is launched to the public during the General Availability (GA) phase from 04 July 2017.

During GA, domain names will be registered on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, trademark owners who do not secure their .africa domain names during the current 60-day Sunrise phase may not be able to guarantee the availability of their .africa domain names from GA onwards.

“The very real possibility of opportunists registering one’s trademarks exists and it is best prevented by the simple act of applying now for .africa domain names that match registered or validated intellectual property,” says Lucky Masilela, CEO of ZA Central Registry NPC (ZACR).

According to Mr Masilela, .africa is the new top-level domain for the African continent. “It is an African initiative created by Africans for the International Internet community. In order to ensure responsible growth, the .africa Registry will place special emphasis on securing the rights of intellectual property owners during the Sunrise Period,” he explained.

Africa is home to an array of world-leading brands valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars that require protection. The Africa Brand Index by Ornico lists the following amongst the top 25 social media brands on the continent: SuperSport, Woolworths, Vodacom, Safaricom, FirstBank, Jumia, Airtel, Pick n Pay, MTN and others. For its part, Brand Africa has at least six homegrown African brands included in its global listing of the Top 100 Most Valuable Brands.

The benefits of a dotAfrica domain name for brand owners include showcasing the brand and it’s commitment to the continent, establishing a home for Africa-specific products and services, and expanding the brand’s regional influence, acquiring valuable online real-estate in a fast-growing and high-potential market.

For more information on the .africa sunrise phase please visit: http://nic.africa

Notes to the editor:

The three .africa launch phases are as follows:

Sunrise Period (4 April 2017 – 2 June 2017) – during the Sunrise Period, trademark owners can secure domain names matching their registered trademarks before .africa is made available to the public. A Trade Mark Clearing House (TMCH) must first validate the registered trademarks. Alternatively, and specifically for the .africa gTLD, a system called Mark Validation System (MVS) will be used to validate trademarks which are not yet registered, company names, trust names and common law trademarks (as well as registered trademarks for trademark proprietors who do not wish to validate through the TMCH).

Landrush Period (Phase 1 = 5 June – 9 June; Phase 2 = 12 June – 16 June; Phase 3 = 19 June – 23 June; Phase 4 = 26 June – 30 June) – this registration is open to everyone around the world without any restriction, but the registration is sold at a higher price than the regular price.

General Availability (4 July 2017) – registration will open to the general public and works on a “first come, first served” basis.

ENDS.

 

About .Africa

dotAfrica (.africa) is the new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) for the African continent. It is an opportunity to forge a unique online identity which will associate your products, services and/or information with the continent and people of Africa.
The Registry Operator for .africa is the ZA Central Registry Not-for-Profit (ZACR – NPC) trading as Registry Africa.

.africa is endorsed and supported by the African Union Commission (AUC), individual African governments, regional governmental agencies and organisations and  enjoys widespread support from the African community.

.africa will bring the continent together as an Internet community under one umbrella allowing e-commerce, technology and infrastructure to flourish. It is truly an African initiative established by Africans for Africa and the world.

Visit nic.africa for further details, or follow the conversation online using the hashtag #dotAfrica.

For press enquiries, please email Kate Els at media@wwc.co.za.